Retailers have a responsibility to adhere to FDA guidelines regarding the marketing and selling of tobacco and smokeless products to persons under 18 years old.

Here in the U.S., tobacco retailers have not been effected by a National Tobacco Display Ban as in other countries. However, retailers still have a responsibility to adhere to FDA guidelines regarding the marketing and selling of tobacco and smokeless products to persons under 18 years old.



Here is a summary of the regulations published on March 19, 2010 (Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Part 1140.8):

“These regulations prohibit the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco to any person younger than 18 years of age, and impose restrictions on labeling, marketing, and advertising of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. Among other requirements, the regulations:

  • require retailers to verify a purchaser’s age by photographic identificationWe Card - 18 or no tobacco - tobacco fixtures from
  • prohibit free samples of cigarettes and restrict distribution of free samples of smokeless
    tobacco to “qualified adult-only facilities” as defined in the regulation
  • prohibit the sale of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco products through vending machines
    and self-service displays, except in facilities where individuals under the age of 18 are
    not present, or permitted to enter at any time
  • prohibit the sale or distribution of brand-identified promotional nontobacco items such as
    hats and tee shirts
  • prohibit sponsorship of sporting and other events, teams, and entries in those events in the
    brand name of any cigarette or smokeless tobacco product.

Section 1140.34(b) states that no manufacturer, distributor, or retailer may offer, or cause to be offered, any gift or item (other than cigarettes or smokeless tobacco) in consideration of purchasing cigarettes or smokeless tobacco. These regulations currently cover the following tobacco products:

  • cigarettes, including roll-your-own tobacco
  • cigarette tobacco
  • smokeless tobacco products (e.g., moist snuff, snus, dry snuff, nasal snuff, loose leaf
    chewing tobacco, plug chewing tobacco, and twist chewing tobacco). “

The purpose of the regulations are meant to reduce access to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco by persons under age 18, and reduce the appeal of such products to persons under age 18. If a retailer fails to comply with a regulation then they may be subject to regulatory and enforcement actions, including injunctions, seizures, civil money penalties, prosecution, and no-tobacco-sale orders by FDA.



So the question is, “How does a retailer maintain responsible adherence to these regulations AND still effectively market their tobacco products to consumers?” The answer begins with the right Cigarette Displays and Tobacco Fixtures that accomplish the five steps of selling: (1) attract attention, (2) arouse interest, (3) create desire, (4) build confidence, and (5) direct action. The right tobacco fixtures will allow the retailer to present key brands in the best positions, allocate merchandising space according to profitable brands, clearly communicate price and promotional offers, while preventing cigarette access to underage purchasers.

Retailers should train employees to follow some simple guidelines to ensure that while marketing tobacco products to eligible consumers they do not inadvertently violate FDA regulations. Measures that are not mandated by federal law, yet useful in staying in compliance are:

  • training store personnel who sell tobacco products using We Card® or equivalant training
  • displaying We Card or equivalent signage
  • using an age verification tool
  • placing retail signage that tells adults not to buy tobacco products for kids
HELPING RETAILERS COMPLY WHILE EFFECTIVELY PROMOTING PRODUCT has the largest selection of Cigarette Displays and Tobacco Fixtures including attractive wall units with ultimate flexibility, clear sinage for bold brand graphics and most importantly optimum product placement. Our POS displays accommodate cigarette packs, cartons, snuff, snus, cigars, e-cigs, vape and all other tobacco products and accessories. Consider us a partner, alongside the cigarette companies, and your well trained employees helping you to meet your sales goals for your tobacco related products while staying in compliance with FDA regulations.

If you are in a country that currently is affected by a Tobacco Display Ban you may want to visit our website or call us to discuss our “Tobacco Display Ban Cabinets” that are designed for easy and convenient cashier access while meeting Tobacco Display Ban regulations.

Visit to view a full range of tobacco fixtures and cigarette displays. With the exception of custom units, all pricing is disclosed on our website and online ordering is very simple. Call us and we’ll provide you with immediate pricing for all custom units.  We are waiting to serve you!
(866) 630-2100

Jim Richards

Jim Richards is the Managing Member of CADEMAN ENTERPRISES, LLC and founder of "", the leading online distributor of cigarette racks, tobacco fixtures and cigarette display cabinets and the exclusive manufacturer of M-Series Overhead Cigarette Racks.

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